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Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Social Realism

At its core, Social Realism was an artistic movement that sought to illustrate the many hardships and struggles that common people endure. In the United States, Social Realism has ties to other movements, specifically American Regionalism. The Social Realists can also be compared to the 19th century realists, as they are united by the desire to bring attention to the reality, and in many cases, the haunting beauty of the underprivileged. In 1929, the Great Depression left millions of Americans unemployed, and set the scene for extreme poverty and hardship. The very essence of the nation's plight could be seen in the droves of migrants and the working poor. The Social Realists gave the Depression a face, an identity that has endured. The most well-known painting from the Social Realism movement is Grant Wood's American Gothic, a typical example of the style. Notable artists connected to the movement include Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, and, in Mexico, Frida Kahlo.


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